While taking a few days rest south of Cairns – Mission Beach to be exact – I met artist Sal Badcock, who was born in Tasmania. A trained nurse until 1988, she moved to this area 9 years ago and is fully dedicated to making the world a more beautiful place. Her colourful pieces are inspired by the abundance of life characteristic of the tropics.
“Everywhere you look there is colour and life and my paintings reflect what I see, hear and feel about this exotic paradise”, Sal says. She has exhibited in different fairs and exhibitions and does commissioned work.
Besides having a great chat about the importance of art and how relaxing Mission Beach is, Sal was kind enough to lend her guitar (she is also a musician) to my son Sacha who was desperate to play a few tunes. Thanks Sal, I appreciate the gesture. To view some of her works, visit www.salbadcock.com
While writing this blog, both of my adult children were about to jump from 14,000 feet (skydiving). Needless to say, I was trying to keep full control of my amygdala (fear centre in the brain) while this happened.
Distracting my mind was probably one of the most effective self-management techniques I could think of… They tried to persuade me to jump as well, but I must confess that even though I am not afraid of heights, jumping from a plane is not necessarily on my list of priorities in life.
I also want to thank Carlos Colina from Melbourne SBS radio who interviewed me on Sunday regarding the Brain Art Exhibition, and thanks to Jo Knox who published the article below in HR daily.
Why large-scale engagement initiatives fail
Originally Published in HR Daily on 21 October 2010 8:25am
One of the reasons why many large-scale engagement initiatives are "hit and miss" is that what is motivating for one worker might be "de-motivating" for another, says leadership consultant Silvia Damiano.
For example, research conducted by Genos International has found 53 per cent of employees are motivated by a role that involves making a contribution to society, but 47 per cent are not, she says in her new book, Engage me: Inspirational insights for leaders who want to engage.
Similarly, 43 per cent of employees are motivated when management is highly competitive while 57 per cent are not, and 58 per cent find well-established policies and procedures motivating while 42 per cent don't.
Managers need to understand the "motivational drivers" of the workers who report to them and treat individuals accordingly, Damiano says.
"Let them do whatever they want"
According to Engage Me giving workers more autonomy can boost engagement, creativity, and profits.
The Brazilian company Semco is an "interesting case", Damiano says. The company's financial information is available to all staff; everyone participates in the decision-making process; weekly meetings are open to anyone who wants to attend, but are not compulsory; and all employees receive a share of the company's net profit.
"Having a sense of autonomy or the possibility to make choices, even small ones, enhances the capacity to be creative," she says.
This is demonstrated by companies such as Google and Atlassian, which give employees pre-set "free work times".
"During these times, employees have no restrictions on what they can work on... The only stipulation is that they have to get 'something' done," Damiano says.
"It is these times, where they are basically free to do whatever they want, that end up generating up to half of the successful innovative developments for the company."
Enjoyment, empowerment and emotion
Good leadership can occur independently of a company's policies and practices, Damiano says. A good leader is one who helps his or her staff to enjoy their work, feel empowered, and develop an emotional connection.
To foster enjoyment, leaders can:
- discover employees' hidden talents;
- reposition employees so they can play to their strengths effectively; and
- provide opportunities for learning and growth.
To encourage an emotional connection they can:
- create dialogue and be transparent;
- keep their promises;
- maintain regular contact with workers; and
- acknowledge and appreciate their staff.
And to empower workers, leaders should:
- trust their team members;
- set direction and clear boundaries;
- involve staff in the solution to problems; and
- suspend judgment and encourage openness.
Random acts of kindness
Leaders can also use "random acts of kindness" to contribute to "a more harmonious, engaging and trusting workplace culture", Damiano says. Leaders can evaluate their altruism by asking themselves:
- how often they help a business colleague without expecting anything in return;
- whether they say "thanks" or show gestures of appreciation at least twice a day;
- whether they actively listen, and demonstrate an interest when others are offering their ideas or solutions; and
- whether they offer help to others in need when their plate is full.